European Strategic Autonomy: What It Is, Why We Need It, How to Achieve It

European strategic autonomy has established itself as a concept and will remain a dominant framework guiding the EU’s aspirations to play a global role in the years ahead. Representing the other side of the coin of its internal development, strategic autonomy is necessary in a world in which multiple powers are set both to cooperate and to compete ever more.

Rome, IAI, February 2021, 38 p.
Publication date: 

Executive summary
1. Chronology of a debate
2. What is European strategic autonomy?
3. Why has strategic autonomy gained prominence in the European debate?
3.1 The EU in the liberal international order
3.2 The advent of multipolarity
3.3 A revamped transatlantic relationship
3.4 An agenda for European strategic autonomy
4. Unveiling the contradictions behind strategic autonomy
4.1 A dangerous illusion?
4.2 Internal power concentration and external protectionism?
5. How can European strategic autonomy be pursued?
5.1 European strategic autonomy starts at home
5.2 Investment, risk and responsibility in the EU’s surrounding regions
5.3 Rebalancing interdependence, partnering and multilateralism

Research area